Still Sinking, but not as quickly!

We seem to have cleared things for the moment. I was in contact with WordPress and they were telling me that it was a common problem recently, but that it is not of their making.. There has been some malfunction in many browsers and the cache is not being cleared. WordPress suggested that I clear the browser history and see if that worked.  It seems to have at the moment but we still have a few problems. However, I am  happy to know that I am not alone in this particular problem. I don’t know though, I sometimes think WordPress have forgotten the old adage “If it’s not broke – don’t fix it”.

I will take Annabell out for some shopping tomorrow and then take her for coffee. It’s the first time she will have been out of the

Westlands yesterday morning (24th)

house in over a week, so we will see how things go. She is very much better than she was so perhaps the outing will do her the world of good.  I would like to go to the photography group on Wednesday but we will see how she is then.. All going well tomorrow should be fine. I’ll take the dog out and then get her breakfast ready when I come back.

Well, so much for morning plans the night before. It has been heavy rain most on the night and still raining now. I’ll do many things for my dog, but going walking in the rain is not one of them. I know, I’m a meanie.  However, if it does clear up – as it generally does – I will take him out to the Wetlands later in the day. Actually, I got him into the car at 06:30 when the rain eased off. By the time we got to the Wetlands the rain had stopped and although I sat there in the car for a good half hour, no one showed up, so we just drove back home again. Still Benji doesn’t mind as long as he was out in the car, that’s all that matters. The reason for not going  out is simply a concern that if anything should happen, there is no one around to help or call for help if needed. Mind you, calling for help is a bit of a joke  ATM. Last night (according to the news)  a lady called emergency as her son had an accident. She was told that she should take the boy to hospital herself, or call for a taxi since there was no ambulance available.  . No one wants to talk about it but our medical and emergency system is in trouble across all of South Australia and we had to bring an ambulance from  50 miles away (Port Augusta) to respond to emergencies here.   Take our problems here and multiply them by 20 and you just about have the current situation in Adelaide. There were 17 ambulances ‘ramped’ at the Flinders Medical Center and a similar number at the Royal Adelaide – emergency patients stuck in an ambulance at the hospital because the A & E  was over capacity and was unable to cope. This was repeated in all the main city hospitals over the last two nights.

I really don’t want to abandon WordPress and I would prefer to stay, but this is driving me crazy—- let me re-phrase that — more crazy than I already am. There are alternatives to WordPress, but none of them come anywhere near the market leader. I already looked for alternatives but was not really impressed with what was on offer. I thought that it was probably better to “stay with the devil you know”.  The song from the Muppets Movie  comes to mind –

“You can’t live with em, you can’t live without em,  there’s something irrisistabullish about em, we grin and bear it cause the nights are long, I hope that something better comes along.”

We had a telephone call from Adelaide  and we now have a date for the day surgery at Flinders Clinic. I take her to Adelaide on Monday 7th June and then to the Clinic for day

Well, not quite paranoid – but close…

surgery at 8am on Tuesday 8th June. All being well, we should be travelling home on Wednesday 9th June.  I have the feeling that I did mention this but the way things are, I can’t go back and check. I keep saving this every few lines just in case I lose it all again.  Goodness – talk about paranoid.

Benji is as well as can be expected. We missed our walk today and since I have had to take Annabell out this afternoon, I wont have time. That should please him no end. He can complain – but what about me?  It’s not doing my fitbit any good this no walks.  Once he has had this operation, I shall really miss  being wakened by a bark at 2am because he wants up on the bed beside me, and since he can’t jump, I have to lift him up. Honestly – the things we do  for  “family”

Hahndorf to Tea Tree Plaza to Home.

Foundation Stone

Leaving Hahndorf we headed in the general direction of Adelaide. After all the uphill and down dale and round every corner, the drive out of Hahndorf really floored me. Flat,  good road. and within less than ten minutes we were on the approach road to the South Eastern Freeway, direct to Adelaide then through town to Tea Tree Plaza. A brief stop at Bunnings for young John (not me!!) and on to the  shopping center. I had been given direction where I should find the shop that I wanted, but I’m stuffed if I could find it, and no shopkeeper in the area had ever heard of it. Anyway, by this time  we had to set off for home. I drove to Port Wakefield then had to stop. I had to hand the driving back to John. Generally, I wear dark clip-on shades when driving during the day. I did not for three days.  I had my eyes tested last week and asked for my driving glasses to have an anti-glare coating. This was done  so when I picked up my glasses on the Tuesday  I did not wear any protection from the sun, believing that the anti-glare coating was all I needed, and to be honest, it seemed to be. Wednesday we left and I drove to Adelaide. Thursday we collected the car and although John was driving, I was sitting looking out without any clip-ons. Thursday was a 39c day. I continued like this throughout the day, and took over the driving at Tea Tree Plaza. By the time we reached Port Wakefield  my eyes were so strained and painful, to continue driving was dangerous for both of us, so John took over the driving. I went into my bag and  got the face cloth from my wetpack, poured cold water on it and washed my face and eyes. I  put the clip-on shades back on. By the time we reached the Tin Man (245 k) my eyes had calmed down and I was going to take over the driving again, but John decided he would drive us home – which he did. I felt bad about that but I really did believe that the anti-glare coating would be sufficient. I was wrong. I have eyes that are sensitive to very bright sunlight, which creates a bit of a problem – although I have shades of different degrees of darkness scattered all over the place, house, bedroom,  car, garage and some float around the sheds

If I could I would take him with me – always.

The scenery on the road to Lobethal was  incredible, but with the narrow roads and no stopping areas (unlike Scottish Highlands Roads) I was unable to take photographs. Mind you not that they would have been much

good with trees blocking much of the view.  With John doing his thing at several Beer Places I was able to have a quiet wander around Lobethal. Here I came across the white church and the foundation stone dated 1921. The place was a Uniting Church Building but since the Uniting Church did not exist in 1921, the original church was something else. My smartphone was not being very smart so I had to wait until I came home. As it turned out the white church was founded in 1921 as Tweedvale Presbyterian Church. Tweedvale is the name that was given to Lobethal during the anti-German feeling  in WWI. It reverted back to its original name Lobethal by Government Decree in 1934. So the White Church began life as a Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Church had existed there since 1869 but it was 1920 before they had sufficient funds bu build their own place.

This last week has been the first mini heatwave of the season with the temperature peaking at 39c on  Thursday. Friday was 34c and on Friday afternoon the thunderstorm started and it rained.  Saturday morning and was still raining, so we were unable to go out for our morning walk. Benji is curled up in his bed so I don’t think he was too put out. The rain continued until early Sunday morning and by the time  I got up it had stopped. We did go out and  it was interesting to see that the ground is so dry that the water in the pit had already started to soak away into the soil. In some communities in New South Wales, water is being shipped in because their own source of water has dried up. I feel for our fellow citizens but am thankful that we still have a good supply of water and decent rains to back it up. Having said that, it did rain in New South Wales and Queensland over the weekend. Not enough to break the drought but very welcome none the less. Anyway, it was a nice two days away, but nice to get home again. However, this coming Thursday (7th Nov) I head off to Mount Gambier.

There and back again !!

The drive down to Adelaide was partly cold, wet and miserable to start with but  by the time we were about halfway there, the sun came out, everything brightened up  and it was quite a pleasant  day. Parked in town and spent some time shopping.   I wanted to go to the camera shop at the Central Market but I think the old camera (which still takes good photographs) is now so old technology has passed it. Amazing how things can change in 10-15 years. I was not able to get anything  new – nor even pre-loved. Serves me right for buying a Sony all these years ago. The new camera is a Canon and I have yet to figure how to use all the bells and whistles and get the best out of it. I have bought a number of books and downloaded some things to the computer and I’ll see how I go with them. Booked into the hotel in North Adelaide and walked with John down to the

Yogi - Our friend's dog
Yogi – Our friend’s dog

Memorial Hospital. As I said the day brightened up so the walk down to the hospital was  fine. However,  during the time we were in the hospital things changed. His appointment lasted longer that was anticipated and by the time we got out of the hospital it was raining,  so the walk back was not so enjoyable. And that was the rain in for the rest of the night. I watched some television, did some things on the computer and  went to bed. When I rose in the morning, it was still raining.  It was a frustrating drive in that it was showers, sometimes heavy sometimes not so heavy, but windscreen wipers switched on – then off – then back on again.  Took John directly to the local hospital where he made a follow up appointment for an MRI then probably back to Adelaide again to  the Memorial Hospital

SummerBy the time I got home it was mid-afternoon and a short while later Jim brought Yogi over. He will be staying with us until they come back from Adelaide on Saturday.  Jim is taking his wife Fay down to the Breast Cancer Clinic.  Chienne was no problem. Yogi has been here several times before so she is fairly used to him.  I took them both out walking last night – all well rugged up for the cold.  Do you ever think that weather forecasters make information up as they go along? I distinctly remember the weather people warning us that it was going to be a cold, dry winter and to expect droughts. This would be followed by a hotter than normal summer.  Here we are, well into winter and thus far it’s been cold, wet and fairly miserable. Rain here and floods further up north and no sign of drought – Yet! Some places have had average rainfall some much more than average and not much of a sign that it is going to change any time soon.

Not far from where we lived were the ruins of an ancient castle. The castle was once a home of Mary, Queen of Scots and was owned by the Earls of Lennox. The Earl rebelled against King James IV and  the castle was partly destroyed by the canons brought over from Edinburgh. The present  castle dates from around the 15th century but  there is evidence of an 11th century structure.  The castle sits atop a hill and as children we went there to  sled and have snow fights. We used the South side of the hill to sled. The north side was a bit steeper but the south side ended in an area of flat land whereas the north side ended at the river. What brought this to mind was thinking about the long summer days and the concerts we put on as children. We all had something to do and sometimes we entertained the adults, who always encouraged us. Of course, all this was back in the “Middle Ages”when there were no mobile (cell) phones, no computers, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were still  at school, and – most importantly – no television.  I remember reading somewhere, that we were the last generation that went outside to play.

Rain and Gala Night.

The Completed Area
The Completed Area

There are times when I think Mother Nature goes out of her way to contradict me. Only the other day ( yesterday in fact) I was saying that the rain seems to pass away from us and today – yes — it’s chucking it down. Tonight is the Mayoral Gala and apart from Showcasing arts and performing talents, it is also a fundraiser for the RFDS, so we have to be there – not everyone but enough to make a recognised appearance – Red RFDS Shirts and badges. We will also have a Merchandise Table and an Information Table. Not sure when it finishes but I don’t think it will be too late.

RFDS Aircraft
RFDS Aircraft

As it happened we did finish fairly early but I have to say it was a great night, very much enjoyed – I just need someone to explain to me how six girls from the Dance School can stand in a line on the stage wearing tap shoes and tap out six different rhythms  at the same time  :o)  As far as I am aware we did fairly well and all the proceeds of the night will be donated to us – which is fantastic. In the last five years we have raised over $151,000 for the RFDS. I think it was great that the Mayor chose us as the preferred organization.

Annabell and the ladies held their Annual Brunch. This raises funds for our local Hospital Cancer Support Unit. This year they raised just over $900 and at their meeting this afternoon they decided to make the amount up to $1000, which, really, is a fantastic effort for a few hours but then the ladies put on a great spread and it is always well attended. Not much out of the South-East, but then I never really expected any anyway.  When they say that they are going to “Rationalize”what they mean is they will abandon everything outside Adelaide. They have done this in the past so they kind of have a track record. I think they get nose bleeds if they move out of the city limits. Yes, I know, I am being unkind – I’ll feel bad about it later – probably.

It has been raining off and on for three days now. No flooding to speak of but we did have a couple of mini storms when the rain was so  heavy that it

Yogi - Our friend's dog
Yogi – Our friend’s dog

overflowed the gutters  which means water everywhere. These mini-storms didn’t last long – a sort of cloud burst if you like – but both  of the water tanks are full.  Everything outside is wet and damp and I’ve had Chienne in here with me. The noise was too much for her and she started to get anxious so I gave her half a tablet to calm her down. I made up a bed for her on my moon chair (bucket chair) then covered her with a blanket. She lay there for most of the night.

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

Next week we will be having Yogi back again. Fay was recalled to the Breast Cancer clinic and now has to go down to Adelaide for further investigation, so we will have Yogi to look after for a few days. I took herself to the clinic today and it will be three weeks before we get any results but we don’t foresee any problems. I head off to Adelaide on Tuesday so I’m looking for calmer weather. I think some showers on Wednesday but if we leave early enough we should be clear of the area before it becomes a problem.

PS: Yesterday I went back to the Art Center to be presented with a cheque  by the Mayor as the funds raised on the Gala night for the RFDS.. Had to leave where I was, go the to toilet in the Art center and get changed, then get on the stage for the presentation – photographs and interview – which was pretty cool!



It’s an ugly tree, but it’s my ugly tree.

SAMSUNGNow that the temperature has continued to drop (at least over here) I will try and get down to Adelaide during the course of this coming week. I have things I need to get done and my brother-in-law is back in hospital again so I would like to get out and see him. There is  quite a difference between between driving in 28c and driving in 43c temperatures even although the car has very good air-conditioning. However, there is major construction work on the roads leading to the Medical Centre and traffic crawls along there.  I don’t make a habit of using the phone in the car but I had to phone Herself and tell her  that I was barrelling along the South Road at a whole 2 klms per hour.  I don’t think I would minded half so much if it were not for the fact that snails were overtaking us.

Helen is back home and when my wife spoke to her this afternoon she says she is planning to be at church tomorrow – in a wheelchair. She still cannot walk but she will be there none-the-less. I have sent the paperwork off to Adelaide re. the Commissions, and should hear by the time I get back from the city.

To the left is an Australian Native Tree. Personally I think they are a) ugly b) messy c) not suitable for this environment (urban)  d) they are a recognisable fire hazzard and e) they  can drop branches and injure people. In some parks people are warned not to  camp near or under gum trees. They are ugly in my eyes because, well they just are and for the life of me I cannot see any redeeming qualities about them. They are messy because they constantly shed bark which is very messy and a pest in an urban setting and downright dangerous in a country setting they create massive amount of litter – that is helping to fuel the bush fires. I may not like it, but I don’t really want to see anything to happen to it. After all, it didn’t ask to be planted where it is, so it should not suffer from Council mistakes.

Our weather is grey and it rained for a little while this afternoon. Nothing much but the temperature is well down. Still having problems in NSW and I heard from family that the bushfires are being reported on the news in the UK.  The cyclone is now heading back out to sea and it seems unlikely that  there will be any  problems from that. However, there is another low pressure building up which might lead to a new cyclone.

The dogs are certainly enjoying the cooler conditions and I have  not had to carry the little man during our morning walks. Behind the town there is a Levy Bank, about nine feet high.  Many, many years ago it was built to protect the settlement from floods. The weather patterns were also different then. I used to take the dogs for a walk alond the length of the levy bank and it was a good quiet walk. No so  these days, – it has become the haunt of trail bikes.  I took the dogs out for their walk at 6:30 this morning and (true!!) I had a pullover on. It was positively chilly.  I might take advantage of the cooler weather to get some things planted in the garden and hope that they get established before we have any more really hot weather. I might even get the garden shop to identify the above tree. —– PS I think I write too much…..

So far – so good!

2013-01-05 19.57.00The interesting thing about Australia, in general, is the many contrasts and the way things can change so quickly – from normal to catastrophic in the blink of an eye. Only a  month or so ago, we were having heavy rain and thunderstorms – now we are in heatwave conditions with homes and property being destroyed. So how are we today – Friday 11th January – well, parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory are in heatwave conditions, large parts of the Eastern States, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW),  are struggling with serious bush fires and over in Western Australia they are bracing themselves for the onset of a Category 4 (and increasing) Hurricane  ( Cyclone in this part of the world) and in some parts of the Highlands, snow has fallen. It’s a strange country, that due to its geographical position, can change so quickly. In Scotland , where I came from, we have pretty miserable weather most of the time, but we never had any conditions where the temperature can drop 23 degrees overnight – i.e. today 47.9 , tomorrow 24.9. In some parts of Scotland if the temperature fell 23 degrees overnight, you would freeze to death. As I said the other day, we went from a record 47.9c down to 26c the following day.

Tourist: ” What’s that special Scottish name for when the weather is cold, grey, wet and miserable?”

Resident:  “Summer”

NSW are bracing for record temperatures again tomorrow as the exhausted firefighters battle some 130 fires burning across the state. To add to this volatile situation three fires were deliberately started and the arsonists have been arrested. All three are teenagers who thought is was a bit of a lark and their stupid parents agree even attacking the  media as they reported the  story. I continue to take comfort from the words of Charles de Gaulle ” The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs”.

Saturday 12th.: Was wakened up by a very strange noise at 4am this morning. I thought someone was coming in through the roof . Got out of bed and put the light on and realised what the strange noise was –  it was raining!. Went to check on the  dogs and they were still asleep. I went back to bed. When I  finally got up at 6:30 the rain had gone and all was quiet. A short while later I took the dogs out for their walk and it was positively cool. I checked the thermometer and found  the temperature was a mere 19c. The little man started off as usual, full of energy,  and the interesting thing is that he maintained most of that energy for the whole time we were out and most of the time he was running ahead to the full extent of the retractable lead. The temperature today is supposed to be 28c. and it looks as if the change in weather pattern is pushing the  Cyclone back out to sea, away from Western Australia although it is still close enough to bring wind and some heavy rain. So far, it’s good that we have managed to escape any bushfires this time round. —– Photograph is a part of my back yard.

Winter is heading off – the sooner the better.

Scanda Personal

I think winter is starting to move on and make way for spring and summer. It would really be nice if we had a summer this year. I just want some warm weather so I can get out and get on with some of the projects I have lined up-  such as the decking and replacement of the roof on the pergola, the concrete and  rebuilding of the washing area an for these I need  several days of dry weather. We have not been getting dry weather. It rained for two days this week including this morning.

I have been using a Filofax for years. I have a Samsung Galaxy S 2 but I prefer to write things down on paper with a pen. I joined  phILOFAXY and I did make some comments on there, but with the passing of time I  get the feeling that it is really not a group for me.  It’s run by some really nice people and I like some of the ideas and the web comments and I will probably continue to look at it, but I won’t comment on there anymore. However,I will continue to look at the blogs that I like and that interest me.

She who must be obeyed, has been quite ill and I have had to  take her to the hospital for teatment.  Her doctor was concerned about her so he had her put on to a Ventolin machine for about 40 minutes and it really helped her. I have spent much of this week recovering from the flu and trying to look after my good lady. She is breathing a lot easier now, but I feel she should be in the house and not go out for a little while. She wants to go to church and I feel she should not. We do have a Board meeting afterwards but we can manage. She rarely takes time for herself and she should. With the  ‘gravel’ in her voice she sort of sounds like Darth Vader on a good day. Poor thing…

A Big Post.

Had a very busy three days – Thursday the AirConditioner packed up and we called the technicians. They came out and very kindly told us that the compressor had burned out and  when they make their report to their office, they will send us a quote for repair and replacement although he did indicate that it would probably cost as much to repair and replace as it would to buy  and install a new split system unit. My computer sort of crashed – well the program I was using to write the magazine (Publisher) crashed (again) and I lost all the work I had done. I can re-create it – I think.. I  went out in the pouring rain and bought a new heater for the lounge. Herself (Annabell, my wife) was really feeling the cold. It is winter here.

Friday I spent the day in town – the City of Adelaide  – some 300 miles and four hour’s drive away. It was raining when I left, rained much of the way down. When I telephoned herself later in the day she said it had been dry for most of the day and the dogs were outside. It rained off and on in Adelaide and for a good deal of the way home. I think it might be me – perhaps I attract the rain!  Sort of like ” Home Cooking” – When I go out the sun comes in, the rain comes down and it soaks my skin. – If you know the song you will know the rest.

Saturday and it rained again for most of the day and  the church ladies had organised  the “Biggest Morning Cuppa” which is a nation wide charity event to raise funds for the Cancer Council. It was well attended and the ladies did well , which is more than can be said for my diet. However, it is truthful to ay that although the event was a success, it was not as well attended as it had been in previous years. It really was a cold, wet and miserable day.  In the afternoon I closed the house up and turned on the heaters for herself. I vanished into the office and started work on re-creating the magazine. I discovered that I can load anything I want on to Publisher – except the magazine. As soon as I try to do that, Published crashes. I’ll sort something out..

The dogs have been very good these last few days as if they sense that not everything is well with the family.  When I came home from Adelaide I went into the laundry, sat down on the floor and played with them for a while.

Sometime this week we should get the quote on the AC and then decide what we want to do and how much Insurance will contribute towards repair or replacement. The system is fairly old(er) and  perhaps a new system is what we need and I think that’s about the way I am heading.

I have written nothing about the garden because there is nothing to write. It has been too wet to be able to do anything outside.  This is a big post. For that I am sorry but it has been an eventful week.